Back on Land … The Vlog!

I’ve been teasing something new all week on Facebook and Twitter, and now is the time! Welcome to my first Back on Land Vlog! I’m looking forward to trying out this new platform over the next few weeks, and I can’t wait to hear your feedback!

Oh! And watch to the end to find out how win my giveaway!!!

Click “Leave a comment” ABOVE (not below) this post for your first entry! First vlog mistake on the books! And then click here to follow me on Facebook!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Save Over $300 PER YEAR With Bountiful Baskets

We all know that no one’s getting rich off Navy pay, and I have three kids (one who will start college in just a blink) so I’m always trying to saving money where I can. Bountiful Baskets is a great way to get quality produce AND save big time

Find out how I save OVER $300 per year on produce!

So what is Bountiful Baskets?

Here’s what they say:

Bountiful Baskets is a group of people who work together for mutual benefit. This is a grassroots, all volunteer, no contracts, no catch co-operative. Since there are no employees at Bountiful Baskets, we as a group pay rock bottom prices on your food. – bountifulbaskets.org

Here’s what I know:

Every other Monday, I log on to my Bountiful Baskets account and buy a share of fruits and vegetables. Sometimes I buy the extras they offer (like large amounts of apples or potatoes); sometimes I just buy my share which costs $19.50 (including the $4.50 handling fee). The following Saturday I drive up to my pick-up point, giggle excitedly as I transfer the contents of two full laundry baskets into my basket, and skip home knowing I’ve saved money and am feeding my family good food! It’s that easy!

So what do I get for $19.50?

Well, it depends on the week. This week we got celery, fennel, butter lettuce, broccoli, squash, and avacadoes in the veggie basket and grapes, apples, limes, pears, a honey dew melon, and bananas in the fruit basket.

Is it worth it?

Absolutely! This week I price checked. Even if I bought each of these items at the Commissary (which we now know IS cheaper), it would have cost me about $33, over than $13 more! Perhaps thirteen dollars doesn’t sound like much, but do the math. If you save $13 every other week for a year, that’s $338 in savings!

What could you do with an extra $338 per year!

If you factor in the “extras” you can buy, you could save even more money. A few weeks ago, I bought a 20 lb. bag of baking potatoes for less then $7. It was a great deal, one that I was able to share with a friend, AND I swear they tasted better the potatoes I normally buy. (I know that sounds crazy … maybe it’s just the savings talking!)

The only downside of Bountiful Baskets is that you don’t get to choose or even know in advance what is coming in your basket. In my experience most of the items are pretty normal, but I’ve had a few surprises that this meat-and-potatoes momma didn’t know what to do with. Kale? No thanks. Artichokes? Couldn’t do it. Fennel? I’m still working that one out right now, but the great thing is if you don’t feel like you might eat something, you can donate it! Any extras or items you don’t want to take home are donated to a local food shelter to help those in need.

So if you’re looking to save more money on your grocery bill (and who isn’t), look up Bountiful Baskets and see if they service your area! You – and your wallet – will be glad you did!

What’s your best money saving tip? Like I said, I’m ALWAYS looking to save MORE MONEY! Help a girl out in the comments!

ONE MORE THING:

Tomorrow I’m bringing something new and a little different to Back on Land. You don’t want to miss it! Plus there will be a little giveaway … but you gotta be here to win! :)

 

FIVE Tips for OVERcoming OVERwhelmed

I am often asked, “Jodi, how do you get it all done?”  I’m a busy gal with three busy kids and a great husband who just happens to be a wee bit busy with a submarine. My schedule is crazy-town all the time. How do I do it? Sometimes I don’t even know.  “Just keep swimming!” and “I think I can! I think I can!” are pretty much my mantras.

But some days … last Saturday for instance … there’s just too much on my plate. Saturday, when all I really wanted to do was sleep in and take a family day, I woke up feeling overwhelmed. The instant my eyes popped open, I just knew … “Today is going to be too much!” All I wanted was to go back to sleep and ignore the long list of chores and errands ahead of me.

But I can’t do that. Lots of people depend on me, and honestly, being able to sleep at night depends on me getting it all done. Here’s how I OVERcome OVERwhelmed.

FIVE Tips for OVERcoming OVERwhelmed!

  1. Make a list. A friend suggested, “Make a list of things that MUST be done, and things that you’d like to get done (in order of actual priority) and then tackle one at a time, and when you get done with each one give yourself some sort of reward (a break, some chocolate, a cup of coffee, etc.)”  That’s great advice! Just seeing it all on paper makes it more manageable.
  2. Now cut the list. After I make my list, I start making cuts. Bountiful Baskets, Commissary, AND Safeway? Good-bye Safeway! Cutting a few jobs off the list that are un-necessary or impossible (homemade Cinderella costume anyone?) lightens the load.
  3. Add to the list. Add something to look forward to. I like to add in a Starbucks stop or a visit with a friend. Like my reader said … give yourself a reward!
  4. Check it off! Seeing more and more jobs crossed off the list makes me work harder. I am a girl who loves a checklist, and seeing tasks one-lined, highlighted, or erased is motivating and energizing!
  5. Outsource. It’s taken me years, but I have finally learned how to ask for help. I give my kids a list of jobs around the house to finish.  I utilize committee members for group activities. I ask friends to help out as well! I’m only one person, but I’m so lucky to have people in my life who pitch in!

As important as it is to me to get it all done, I have learned that I can’t always do it all, and I can rarely do it all alone. It really does take a village! Having a plan, sticking to it, and asking for help when I need helps me “just keep swimming” until “I think I can!” becomes “I knew I could!”

How do you get it all done? Are you a list-person like me, or is it all in your head, like my husband?

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On Friday, I’m bringing something new and a little different to Back on Land. You don’t want to miss it! Plus there might just be a little giveaway … but you gotta be here to win! :)

 

It’s Okay … AT Homecoming

Airing My Dirty Laundry is one of my most favorite blogs, and the fact that she is a military spouse, too, is just the icing on the cake! I always enjoy her weekly series, “Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!” and have enjoyed linking up every now and then. My “It’s Okay’s” tend to be Navy-wife-life related, but they are also sometimes just the random-ness of my overflowing brain, too. If you’d like to read more of them, just search “It’s Okay” in the form to the right.

  1. To dress to the nines … or to dress for comfort. I’m a comfort girl, and my sailor knows that. He might actually have a heart attack if I ever got all gussied up.
  2. To make a beautiful, clever, glittered up “Welcome Home” sign to wave around like the crazy person that you are on Homecoming Day … or to opt to keep your hands free when you see him …
  3. To make a big, beautiful dinner on his first night home … and then stick in the fridge for tomorrow because your sailor is just craving McDonald’s french fries.
  4. To have missed him sooo much and want nothing more than to be glued to his side as soon as he gets home … and after he takes a good hot shower because … boat smell.
  5. To make him drop ALL his gear, every single thing that he won’t need the very next day, in the garage because … again, boat smell.
  6. To also kind of LOVE boat smell (a mixture of chemicals, rotten eggs, and post-game locker room) … because the only time you ever smell it is when he comes home.
  7. To ignore anything and everyone outside of your home for a bit afterwards … enough said.

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#MILFAM Monday Linky Party

MILFAM Monday Linky Party

Welcome, welcome, welcome to the first ever MILFAM Monday Linky Party, hosted by Back on Land! We’ll be meeting up here each Monday with tips, top 10’s, information and experiences all for YOU, the military family!

This is my first time hosting a Linky Party, but I hope this will be a great thing for bloggers and military families alike to share and receive some great stories and information!

A few rules….

1. When you link up, please visit at least 2 others and give them some comment love! Please don’t link and run!

2. Each week I’ll choose one post (my favorite, the funniest, the one that makes me tear-up, who knows?) to feature the following week, and I’ll be sharing it everywhere! You need to follow me to see it! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

4. The more you share this linky party on social media, the better off we all are! You gotta share the love to get the love, right? Don’t forget to use #milfammonday! You’re welcome to grab my button to help other milspouse bloggers find Milfam Monday as well.

5. One last thing … all posts really must be about some aspect of military life, but they can be older posts. So long as we are all sharing the milfam experience!

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Hello, Good-bye

Warning … I had a rough Navy wife moment yesterday, and so, of course, I’m sharing it here with you …

Hello, Good-bye ... saying so long to friends in the Navy.

 

Yesterday I spent the afternoon celebrating the soon-to-be baby of a wonderful lady and fellow Navy spouse. I was invited weeks ago. The theme was owls. So sweet! I found a tutorial for an owl-shaped diaper cake and bought all the supplies, and miraculously it came together perfectly the morning of the party.

I brought appetizers and helped set-up. I brought my camera to snap a few pics for the momma-to-be. I was so happy and excited to celebrate this much-anticipated baby girl and her super awesome parents!

I took pictures most of the afternoon. Pictures of the decorations, pictures of the gifts, pictures of the soon-to-be mommy and all of our friends. I’m not a great photographer, but my theory is if you take enough, at least a few will come out pretty good. So I snapped and I snapped and I snapped all afternoon, but near the end of the party, looking through that lens, I realized something …

Today I am celebrating a baby I will never meet with a momma-to-be that I will never see again.

She’s leaving. Moving away in less than a month. Across the country to a duty station that we have never been to and likely never will. Besides, Josh is at a point in his career where this duty station could very well be our last. We could be a plain old civilian family in one years time, and the odds of seeing all the amazing friends we’ve made during his career dwindles with each passing year. With one more duty station separating us. With one more hail and farewell, one more retirement. With each milestone my friends, my Navy family, are all one step farther away.

I’m not much of a cryer, but to be honest, I had to swallow a few tears.

For so many years, I’ve said, “I don’t say good-bye; I say see you later,” but we aren’t there anymore. So many of our good-byes are true good-byes, and it’s only been lately that it hit me so hard. I have made some of the most amazing friends in this life, and just thinking of losing them to time and orders … honestly, it breaks my heart.

I don’t have a happy ending for this post. I can’t think of the bright side. My heart is breaking with the realization that Facebook and phone calls may be the only way to hold on to these relationships, and that some of them will be lost altogether.

So my ending is this. When you find an amazing friend in this life, hold her close. Make memories. Take those pictures. Because it may not be long before those things plus a few Facebook chats is all you have left.

 

 

101 GREAT IDEAS for Halfway Box Goodies

During Deployment Prep Week, I showed you some AMAZING Halfway Boxes, but if you’re like me, that much creativity just ISN’T happening. For one thing, Josh isn’t really into all that hoopla (lucky me), and for another, that just isn’t my skill set. Anytime I’ve tried it’s come out looking like I set Alli loose in a craft store. Whomp-whomp …

But I can pack a box with some good STUFF, and that’s what they really want, right? The stuff? Well, today I’m sharing a FREE PRINTABLE of 101 GREAT IDEAS for Halfway Box Goodies!

101 GREAT IDEAS for Halfway Box Goodies

 

I’ve got all kinds of ideas for Halfway Box filler … from the lovey-dovey to the just plain silly! Feel free to download and print for the next time you have a halfway box to fill!

And if you liked this, please show my little blog some love today! Subscribe, follow me me on social media, or click the cute little MILITARY Mom Blog button on the right! Comments are great, too! I want to hear from YOU today!

Happy Friday!

Is the Commissary Really Worth It? Commissary vs Safeway

I am a Commissary shopper. I’m there every week singing through the aisles while I cross off my weekly grocery list. Yes, I am THAT shopper, and yes, even on payday. Recently, though, the comments of a few friends had me doubting myself, and I began to wonder … Is The Commissary Really Worth It? I decided to test it out myself.

Is the Commissary REALLY cheaper than other stores? I decided to find out!

First I took a quick poll on Facebook of the items folks always buy when food shopping. I left out the kale and the poptarts (sorry, gals!) and came up with this list of common grocery items.

Grocery list

 

Next I shopped the list at both Safeway and the Commissary. I bought the exact same items and brands (where possible). This was my result.

Commissary vs Safeway receipts

Nine times out of ten, the Commissary item was cheaper than the Safeway item by anywhere from 9% to 46%!!! In the one instance that Safeway was cheaper, that item (a loaf of bread) happened to be on sale. There was also a store coupon on the chicken breasts at Safeway that brought the price way down, but you can’t really count on those savings every time. All in all, I saved $5.65 at the Commissary. That may not sound like much, but this was on only 10 items. If you save a similar amount on 40 or 50 items, you’re looking at $20 – $25 in savings!

Of course there are other considerations in choosing a grocery store.

  • Location: Because I don’t live on base, Safeway is much closer to me, but the savings difference leads me to only shop there out of convenience or to cherry pick the special sales.
  • Quality: For most things I’d say these two are pretty even. The main difference is the produce. Safeway’s produce selection is ALWAYS better than the commissary, but I still buy a lot of things at the Commissary. Carrots are carrots, apples are apples, and potatoes taste like potatoes no matter where you buy them. I do tend to buy things that perish quickly at Safeway or through my local co-op.
  • Customer service: Again I find them to be pretty even inside the store. The bonus of the commissary is having someone take my groceries to my car for me. Yes, you have to tip the bagger a few bucks, but it’s worth it in my opinion.

So, in the Commissary vs Safeway Face-off, I’m calling the Commissary the WINNER! What are your thoughts? Are you loyal to the commissary? Or does some other retailer have your heart? Over the next few weeks, I’ll be taking on a few other grocers so I can make sure I’m getting the best value for my grocery money!

 

 

Wednesday in Washington

A new Wednesday series here on Back on Land, similar to Wordless Wednesday but focused on Washington. Do you have a favorite place in Washington you’d like to share about? Link up in the comments!

Wednesday in Washington

Wednesday in Washington Wednesday in Washington

This is our second year visiting Minders Farm in Bremerton. They have a small but fun corn maze (with a military discount), an assortment of pumpkins in all shapes, colors, and sizes for sale, that awesome Jack o Lantern bouncy house (which Alli LOVED), and delicious-smelling Kettle Corn for sale. Parking and admission are free.

10 DIY Skills for Every Military Spouse

It’s a commonly known fact that as soon as your sailor deploys, crap begins to break. I call it SubSpouse Law, and over the years I’ve experienced my fair share of broken, clogged, and overflowing issues. In these situations the best offense is a good defense so here’s a list of 10 Simple DIY Skills for Every Military Spouse.

You don' ALWAYS need to call a plumber or mechanic. Here are a few simple fixes you can and SHOULD do yourself!

  1. How to plunge a toilet – Did you know you might have the WRONG plunger for the job? You can pick up  the right plunger at Lowe’s for about six bucks.
  2. Stop an overflowing toilet … though if  YOUR toilet is overflowing, I wouldn’t recommend leaning ON THE TOILET like this guy did … just sayin’.
  3. Reset the garbage disposal – Never stick your hand in the garbage disposal. I repeat, NEVER stick your hand in the garbage disposal.
  4. Unclog kitchen drain - I’ve done this one so many times, I could probably make this video except in my version I just call all the plumbing parts curse words.
  5. Reset a breaker – You might need a flashlight for this. Do you keep one or two handy? You should!
  6. Reset a GFCI outlet – Anytime I have an outlet that won’t work, I reset the GFCI outlets. In my house, the GFCI outlet in the kitchen is in the same circuit as the upstairs bathroom so when my toaster tripped it (without me realizing it), my daughter couldn’t use her curling iron the next morning. This is a truly simple fix.
  7. Testing smoke detectors. Change your batteries on the same day your re-set your clocks for Daylight Savings Time! That way you’ll never forget!
  8. Check the oil in car 
  9. Jumpstart car - (Sidenote: I chose this video because of his very manly mustache …) Once you’ve jumped your battery, you might want to get it tested. Just about any autoparts store will test your battery for free.
  10. Check  pressure and inflate your tires 

If you’ve read the list and clinked the links, you might be thinking,

“But couldn’t I just CALL someone to do that?”

You could, but you shouldn’t.

  • First, “just calling someone” is going to cost you … a lot. Plumbers, electricians, and mechanics all charge “parts and labor;” it’s the “and labor” part where they stick you.
  • Second, even if maintenance is free for you, it isn’t going to happen immediately. Someone has to leave their home or office and drive over to your place. Even fifteen minutes in overflowing-toilet-land is a terrible, terrible thing.
  • Finally, there is a certain sense of pride in handling things yourself, and I want you to have that in your tool belt! I want you to feel empowered to take on these things by yourself when you’re on your own!

These links are just a few I’ve used over the years to fix things, but they are not the be-all-end-all of home repair resources. Google is a wonderful thing! I’ve completed many repairs myself (and saved HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS) just by Googling the problem. I also recommend ordering, Dare to Repair: A Do-It-Herself Guide to Fixing (Almost) Anything in the Home. I got my copy at Compass over three years ago, and I’ve flipped through this book for solutions dozens of times!

There you have it! Do you feel EMPOWERED? Ready to take on a repair or two? What repairs have you completed that you’d like to shout out to the world? Holla in the comments so we can all wonder at your awesome-ness!

ONE MORE THING:

See that picture to the right that says “Top Mommy Blogs – Military”? I’m shamelessly asking for your vote today. I’m in the top 10, but I’d LOOOOOOOOVE to be in the Top 5! All you have to do is click it. Nothing else. Two seconds … pretty please?

Thank you!

 

 

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